Japan's Kento Momota, the world's No. 1 men's player, opened his year by winning the Malaysia Masters on Sunday.

Momota beat Denmark's Viktor Axelsen 24-22, 21-11 in the men's singles final to win his first title of the year ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics. Axelsen is ranked fifth in the world.

(Kento Momota of Japan celebrates after defeating Viktor Axelsen of Denmark)

Axelson overcame an 18-13 deficit in a tightly contested first game, but everything went Momota's way in the second game.

Momota, who missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics due to a suspension for illegal gambling, won 11 international meets last year, and is now looking to become Japan's first Olympic badminton gold medalist in men's singles.


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